I was asked this question last week. By someone who is an intuitive eater. I travelled on the bus with a fellow health coach last week to attend the Institute of Integrative Nutrition’s Fall IINto Action conference in New York City. As we were chatting, I was telling her my story – I talked about how I spent most of my life compulsively and binge eating, always either on or off a diet, and constantly battling my weight, and therefore battling with myself. I also told her how I am now practicing intuitive and mindful eating by asking myself “Am I Hungry?” before eating, eating slowly and savoring each bite, and stopping when I’ve had enough. I explained to her that my goal was to practice living my life more mindfully, and become a facilitator for the Am I Hungry mindful eating program early next year to add to my health coaching practice. And then she asked that question.
I had a hard time answering her. I looked at her for a moment as if she had two heads. Of course I know why people eat when they are not hungry. But I had never been asked that question before. Most people I know eat when they are not hungry – either for emotional reasons, boredom, the clock, out of habit or any of dozens of other reasons. I also know that eating intuitively is natural for some people. But there are a lot of people out there who struggle with this – eating for every reason other than being hungry, usually looking for the next best diet. Learning to eat intuitively is hard for someone who has spent there lives on the pendulum of either restricting or overeating. But is is so worth it. To be at peace with yourself, not constantly thinking about your next meal, even before you finish the one you are eating.